Category Archives: Solyndra

How to lose $260K: Let the Government run your Business

A story from our Canadian neighbors, courtesy of the National Post:

When the Tim Hortons at Newfoundland’s Health Sciences Centre opened in 1995, the hospital’s administrator predicted the shop would turn an annual profit of up to $300,000 and pay for seven nurses — or 11 support staff, or maybe even pay for the increase in chemotherapy drugs for cancer patients.

Instead, the coffee shop at the St. John’s hospital lost about $260,000 last year, offering what critics say is a cautionary tale of what can happen when the public sector gets involved in things better done by private enterprise.

A Tim Horton’s? The Canadian government couldn’t run a Tim Horton’s? The food is great and the service is consistently some of the best I’ve found (Ohio has them all over the place). The place is a money-printing machine: all the government needed to do was follow the existing template.

And they couldn’t, …or perhaps the better term is: wouldn’t.

“Let me tell you why [the hospital franchise loses money],” Vickie Kaminski, the authority’s president and CEO, told reporters on Tuesday. “We charge you a buck-ninety-four for that large coffee, but we insist that the staff who are pouring the coffee are Eastern Health staff, and they get paid $28 an hour. No Tim Hortons pays that.”

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“Somehow it became public employees running a doughnut shop,” said Lloyd Matthews, who was Newfoundland’s health minister when the location opened at the Health Sciences Centre in 1995. “It brings us all home to the issue of waste in health care …. [It] makes us all a little interested in where else money is being wasted.”

A cautionary tale, to be sure, and one that we need to keep an eye on here: the college loan industry, GM, Chrysler, and all of the crony recipients such as Solyndra.

Makes me glad to see that this is not lost on the Romney campaign.

Is toxic waste Green?

Solyndra: the gift that just keeps on giving.

**From CBS San Francisco:

MILPITAS (CBS 5) — Three months ago, CBS 5 caught Solyndra tossing millions of dollars worth of brand new glass tubes used to make solar panels. Now the bankrupt solar firm, once touted as a symbol of green technology, may be trying to abandon toxic waste.

…next phase of the company’s liquidation is under way. It involves getting rid of all the heavy metals left inside the building that were used to make the panels.

The Fremont Fire Department’s Jay Swardenski oversees the cleanup. He said some materials, such as cadmium, are toxic, and hard to dispose of.

They don’t degrade at all, so we want to make sure we don’t allow these materials to get into the environment,” he said.

It’s not just the leftover hazardous materials, but also the machinery used to apply them to the glass tubes. “Certainly those tools will need to be decontaminated, cleaned up, handled correctly as they are taken apart,” he said.

CBS 5 found the building locked up, with no one around. At the back, a hazardous storage area was found. There were discarded buckets half filled with liquids and barrels labeled “hazardous waste.”

The building’s owner, a company called iStar, claimed in court documents, “there may be serious environmental, health and safety issues” at the premises. According to the documents, they include, “numerous containers of solvents and chemicals…and processing equipment contaminated with lead.”

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Don’t forget, this is one of the many “investments” that President Genius made, bestowing upon the now-failed solar panel company a $500 million loan guarantee from the federal government.

It’s comforting to know that tax check I just wrote to the IRS is being spent so judiciously.

Suggestion: wouldn’t it make a dash more sense to not squander our tax dollars in such unproven ventures as Solyndra, have the government get out-of-the-way and simply let the free market figure out which companies will make it? Especially when those ventures are producing barrels full of toxic waste, while allegedly being a “green” alternative?

I guess when some folks were pointing out that such investments were a waste, they didn’t realize how right they were.